roasted pumpkin pieces in a pan


Pumpkin whiskey gelato – this is the frozen equivalent of a pumpkin pie.  Spicy and sweet with a good kick of whiskey to finish.   It’s like having fall in the freezer all year.  Plus it’s easier than pie to make – no fussy crust disasters.

pumpkin half being seeded

recipe q&a

What do I need to know about canned pumpkin?

Make sure it’s 100% pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling. The ingredients should only list pumpkin – no sugar or spices or anything else. I am a big fan of Libby’s Pumpkin Puree.

Um, fresh pumpkin?

Fresh pumpkin is great! It will get slightly caramelized in the oven, giving it a deeper flavor than canned pumpkin. Look for small pumpkins labeled ‘pie pumpkins’ or ‘sugar pumpkins.’ These are not the same as your Halloween Jack-o-Lantern. Details are in the recipe notes.

What kind of whiskey?

Anything you would find drinkable. But don’t pull out a rare 25-year-old whiskey – keep that for a rainy afternoon. Something like a moderately priced bottle of Jamesons is ideal.

But I’m not a whiskey fan.

Ok (sorry to hear that) not a problem. Bourbon or dark rum would be fantastic substitutes.



Pumpkin whiskey gelato is like a  frozen pumpkin pie without the crust.  A big hit of whiskey or bourbon makes it the perfect adult dessert. Canned or homemade pumpkin puree will work beautifully. Best served with toasted pecans and a cozy sweater.

  • Author: MJ


pumpkin puree

  • 180g    pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)*
  •   60g    brown sugar
  •     1 tsp cinnamon
  •   1/2tsp allspice
  •   1/2tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  •   1/2tsp ground cloves


  • 178g   sugar
  •   20g   non-fat milk powder
  •     5g   tapioca starch
  • 632g   whole milk
  •   52g   heavy cream
  •   80g   egg yolks (approx 4)
  •   34g   light corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp  whiskey
  • pumpkin puree 


pumpkin puree*

  1. If using canned pumpkin: empty puree onto 2 or 3 paper towels and pat dry, gently squeezing as much liquid as possible.     If making fresh puree*: drain any liquid then push through a strainer to remove any lumps and stringy bits.
  2.  Place drained pumpkin in a small saucepan with the brown sugar and spices.  Cook over medium-low heat until the puree simmers and the sugar dissolves completely.  Set aside to cool.


  1. Make an ice bath – place a few ice cubes and a few cups of water in a large bowl.  Set aside. Have a clean bowl or container and a fine mesh strainer standing by.
  2. Mix sugar, non-fat milk powder, and tapioca starch. In a separate bowl combine milk and cream.  Whisk in the dry ingredients.  Add corn syrup and egg yolks, continue whisking until there are no lumps.
  3. Place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes until the mixture is warm* then increase to medium-high. Cook for 8-10 minutes.  Do not let it come to a boil.  Keep stirring the mixture while it cooks.  In the last few minutes stir without stopping as the mixture begins to thicken.
  4. Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl that is standing by.   Using an immersion blender (or regular blender) thoroughly incorporate the pumpkin puree and whiskey.
  5. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the gelato to prevent a skin from forming. Put the bowl of hot gelato into the ice bath.  Once it cools to room temperature, remove from the ice bath and refrigerate 4-12 hours.
  6. Give the gelato a quick stir with an immersion blender or whisk then process in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  The gelato is finished when it is the consistency of soft-serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes) Scoop into a container, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface and freeze until firm (4 hours minimum)


  • If you are using canned puree make sure it is 100% pumpkin with nothing added.
  • To make fresh pumpkin puree:  Split a sugar pumpkin into quarters and scrape out the seeds.  Coat very lightly with canola oil and roast at 350 for about 45 minutes until soft.   Scrape the flesh off the peel and pulverize in a food processor.
  • For a more pumpkin orange color substitute an equal amount of white sugar for the brown.
  • Start the gelato base on low heat so the eggs don’t cook too fast.  Once everybody is warm (it doesn’t take long) then it’s ok to increase the heat.  


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